By November 20, 2017 Read More →

Inventor of blue LED lights wins at IET Achievement Awards

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has named the winners of its 2017 Achievement Awards. One of this year’s most significant awards, the Mountbatten Medal, goes to Nobel Prize winner Professor Shuji Nakamura for his pioneering work to develop blue LEDs and lasers.

The IET Achievement Awards recognise individuals from around the world who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of engineering, technology and science in any sector. This can be through research and development in their respective technical field or through their leadership of an enterprise.

Professor Nakamura used novel InGaN growth processes to enable the commercialisation of blue LEDs as high efficiency, low power light sources, to which he holds the patent. He was also the first to demonstrate group III nitride based high brightness blue/green LEDs and violet laser diodes. His LED inventions have been used for multiple applications, including TV and mobile phone screens, due to their lower energy consumption, and enabled the development of the Blu-ray DVD.

Nick Winser, IET President, said: “Professor Nakamura’s inventions have resulted in highly successful commercial LEDs, that not only save considerable energy consumption, but have revolutionised new technology such as the Blu-ray disk. It is our pleasure to recognise him as our Mountbatten Medal winner for his outstanding contribution to technological innovation.”

Professor Nakamura (pictured) said: “It is my great honour to receive the Mountbatten Medal. Since the invention of the blue LED in 1993, many researchers joined the field and created many applications for solid state lighting such as mobile phone screens, LED TV, and large displays. But the application with the greatest impact to the world’s energy consumption is that of general illumination, recognising that one quarter of all the world’s electricity is used for lighting.

“LED Light bulbs are more than ten times efficient than incandescent bulb, and they last for 50 years! At their current adoption rates, by 2020 LEDs can reduce the world’s need for electricity by the equivalent of nearly 60 nuclear power plants. I hope that the invention of blue LED could contribute to overcome the global warming issues.”

The IET’s Mountbatten Medal was established by the National Electronics Council in 1992 and named after The Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the first Chairman of the Council.  The Earl Mountbatten of Burma was President of the Institution of Electronic and Radio Engineers (IERE) in 1947-48 and 1961-62, which merged with the Institution of Electrical Engineers (now the IET) in 1998. He was also an Honorary Fellow.

Professor Nakamura joins 14 other winners, who were nominated by their peers as leading engineers and technicians in their field.

The Achievement Awards, which took place on Wednesday 15 November 2017, are part of the IET’s Achievement Awards and Scholarships programme, which this year provided over £1million in awards, prizes and scholarships to celebrate excellence and research in the sector and encourage the next generation of engineers and technicians.

Find out more about the Achievement Awards here:

Full list of Achievement Award Winners:  

  • Faraday Medal – Professor Bjarne Stroustrup, for contributing to the history of computing, in particular pioneering the C++ programming language
  • Mountbatten Medal – Professor Shuji Nakamura, for pioneering the development of blue LEDs
  • J J Thomson Medal for Electronics – Professor Mau-Chung Frank Chang
  • Achievement Medals – Dr William Drury, Power Electronics; Kevin Foster, Broadband Innovation; Professor Hugh Griffiths, Radar Engineering; Professor Andreas Molisch, Wireless Communication
  • Viscount Nuffield Silver Medal for manufacturing – Gareth Hankins
  • IET Volunteer Medal – Xenophon Christodoulou
  • Paul Fletcher Award for Young Professionals – Mark Goudie, Electrical & Mechanical Engineer, Energy, UK & Europe at Atkins and James Mitchell, Asset Program Coordinator, Infrastructure Asset Management, South Australia
  • Mike Sargeant Career Achievement Medal – Dr Ozak Esu, electrical engineer, Cundall and Dr Melanie Ooi, Associate Professor, Herriot-Watt University Malaysia
  • Sir Henry Royce Medal for Young Professionals – Sean Gallagher, Senior Additive Manufacture Development Engineer, New Products & Process Development Centre, BAE Systems and Nicholas Weeks, Chief of Material Engineering (Asia Pacific), Rolls-Royce